This research group is divided into several topics:
- Growth and welfare/indicators of sustainable development
- Welfare indexes (NWI/RWI)
- Environmental and Energy Management System / Environmental education
- Climate protection schemes
- EKD project office on climate protection
- Religion and conflict
- Just Peace
“Peace and sustainable development” covers projects that use and expand the specific research and advice competence of the Institute in related policy areas. Again the time-honoured interdisciplinary approach is followed. Interdisciplinary work is not just a give-and-take between the methodologies of the disciplines involved, but also means trying to develop questions that do not primarily follow from the logic of the individual disciplines. This approach can be fruitfully employed for many current research questions and in advisory services for churches and other societal institutions.
Peace became a subject of academic research in reaction to the horror and dismay caused when nuclear weapons were invented and first used at the end of World War II. As an alternative both to statically defined concepts of peace and also to one defined primarily in terms of foreign and security policy, the Institute developed a multi-dimensional model: peace as a historical process of minimizing hardship, limiting violence and reducing lack of freedom.
Intergovernmental tensions are frequently overlaid and suffused with social disparities within societies. Other factors are the global North-South divide and increasing shortages of resources and destruction of livelihoods. Against this background, we need to bring out the conditions allowing for sustainable development. Research on development is the attempt, on the basis of “enlightened utopias” of sustainable societies, to engage in practical planning compatible with environmental, economic and social needs.
All these research issues share the question as to the contributions the ecumenical community can make to a new political world order. Recently the Evangelical Church in Germany and some of its member churches addressed several inquiries to FEST that illustrate the need for a longer-term consultation service in a number of employment issues.
In addition, the individual members of this research group belong to church bodies concerned with peace, environment and development (see the current annual report).
Members of the research group: